Author

Sherman Smith

Sherman Smith

Sherman Smith is the Kansas Press Association’s journalist of the year. He has written award-winning news stories about the instability of the Kansas foster care system, misconduct by government officials, sexual abuse, technology, education, and the Legislature. He previously spent 16 years at the Topeka Capital-Journal. A lifelong Kansan, he graduated from Emporia State University in 2004 as a Shepherd Scholar with a degree in English.

Kansas Supreme Court Justice Eric Rosen questions an attorney during Wednesday's virtual hearing over a 2013 anti-abortion law. (Screenshot by Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

A.G.’s office defends ban on wrongful birth lawsuits before Kansas Supreme Court

By: - September 16, 2020

TOPEKA — An attorney for the Kansas Attorney General’s office argued Wednesday before the Kansas Supreme Court that parents shouldn’t be allowed to seek damages from a doctor who fails to notify them of a known birth defect before a child is born. The court in 1990 opened the door to civil action over wrongful […]

Kansas draws privacy line to exclude some businesses from COVID-19 cluster report

By: - September 15, 2020

TOPEKA — Gov. Laura Kelly’s administration has rejected an open records request by Kansas Reflector seeking the name and location of businesses connected to COVID-19 outbreaks of fewer than 20 infections. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment last week began selectively identifying active clusters of COVID-19 cases with five or more infections for a […]

A district court judge determined state Sen. Julia Lynn can withdraw from the November ballot after reversing Secretary of State Scott Schwab's decision to block her removal because her medical-hardship petition didn't comply with state law. (Submitted/Kansas Reflector)

Judge grants Sen. Julia Lynn’s request to be removed from November ballot

By: and - September 11, 2020

Sen. Julia Lynn's appeal to be dropped from the November ballot was affirmed by a judge after her request was rejected by the secretary of state.

Gov. Laura Kelly pressures GOP ahead of vote to extend COVID-19 emergency

By: - September 10, 2020

TOPEKA — Gov. Laura Kelly applied maximum pressure Thursday to legislative leaders who will decide whether to extend the emergency declaration for COVID-19, saying the pandemic in Kansas is worse now than at previous peaks and millions of dollars in federal aid hang in the balance. Kelly also said she talked with Deborah Birx, the […]

Lee Norman, secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, said Monday growth of COVID-19 across Kansas affirmed the necessity of people to adhere to recommendations to wear a mask and maintain social distancing. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

Kansas names businesses, schools, churches, long-term care facilities with COVID-19 outbreaks

By: - September 9, 2020

TOPEKA — The Kansas Department of Health and Environment on Wednesday released for the first time the names and places associated with active outbreaks of COVID-19 across the state. The list includes seven Greek houses at Kansas State University, plus eight other universities and colleges, more than two-dozen long-term care facilities, nine private businesses, four […]

Lee Norman, secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, said the state wouldn't plan to inoculate children for COVID-19 because the vaccines hadn't been approved for younger people. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

Kansas health secretary wary of Lake Perry motorcycle rally: ‘I’m sure we’ll see an outbreak’

By: - September 2, 2020

TOPEKA — Kansas health secretary Lee Norman renewed warnings Wednesday about rising numbers of COVID-19 cases, including a deadly two-day spike, and cautioned Kansans against participating in a large motorcycle rally planned for Lake Perry. State officials also announced they plan to reveal the locations of outbreaks — a decision previously delegated to county officials […]

Bryan Caskey, elections director for the Kansas Secretary of State's office, notified Sen. Julia Lynn on Wednesday she would remain on the November ballot. (Sherman Smtih/Kansas Reflector)

Sen. Julia Lynn flubs paperwork, will remain on November ballot

By: - September 2, 2020

The Kansas Secretary of State’s office on Wednesday denied Sen. Julia Lynn’s last-minute effort to drop off the November ballot. Lynn announced her plans to retire on Tuesday, the deadline to be removed from the ballot, citing her sister’s failing health. Kansas law allows candidates to quit after the primary if they have a severe […]

Kansas Sen. Julia Lynn to retire from Legislature, asks to drop off ballot

By: - September 1, 2020

TOPEKA — Kansas Sen. Julie Lynn announced Tuesday she will retire from the Legislature to care for her ailing sister, and asked to remove her name from the November ballot. The Olathe Republican has served in the Legislature since 2006 and was chairwoman of the Commerce Committee for the past eight years. “Due to personal, […]

Kansas primary recorded unprecedented volume of votes

By: - August 28, 2020

TOPEKA — Nearly 150,000 more Kansans turned out to vote in this year’s primary than ever before, including an unprecedented surge from mail-in ballots. Kansas Secretary of State Scott Schwab, Attorney General Derek Schmidt and Gov. Laura Kelly convened as the state’s canvassing board Friday to certify results from 636,032 votes. That figure tops the […]

Angelica Hale says she plans to ask a federal judge to reconsider his decision to award her just nine months worth of back pay. She left Emporia State University in July 2015, citing a hostile work environment after she complained about the university's handling of a racial slur. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

Former Emporia State University employee not happy with $64K ruling for discrimination

By: and - August 27, 2020

TOPEKA — A federal judge has ordered Emporia State University to pay $64,000 to a former employee who faced retaliation after reporting a racist slur in 2015. Angelica Hale, 58, had argued for at least $500,000 to cover wages and benefits she would have earned if she had been allowed to stay at the university […]

Hundreds of police supporters demonstrate for a Back the Blue rally Tuesday in downtown Topeka ahead of a special council meeting to discuss potential police reform. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

Hundreds rally in Topeka to ‘back the blue’ in clash with Black Lives Matter

By: - August 25, 2020

TOPEKA — Hundreds of police supporters gathered Tuesday afternoon outside the capital’s city hall to protest demands by Black Lives Matter. Standing in sweltering heat, they chanted “back the blue,” joined in prayer, sang “God Bless America,” and cheered speakers, including three Republican candidates for the Kansas Legislature, who urged them to brace for a […]

Topeka Mayor Michelle De La Isla, the Democratic nominee for Congress in the 2nd District, laughs during a news conference Tuesday about the suggestion by Kim Borchers that the mayor is angling for the "woke vote" by pursuing police reform. (Sherman Smith/Kansas Reflector)

Politics, misinformation undermine Topeka debate on police reform

By: - August 25, 2020

Kim Borchers wants Topeka residents to be afraid. Topeka Mayor Michelle De La Isla wants people to stop paying attention to lies they see online. A Kansas delegate to the Republican National Convention, Borchers hurled a Molotov cocktail of misinformation, anger and fear into public debate on police reform during a live Facebook video earlier […]